10 Top British Fashion Designers

Britain has long been a place that sets new trends and directions on the cultural scene. When it comes to fashion and design industry, the influence of the British designers is seen globally and they continue to set new trends year in and year out. If the work of British designers has always impressed you and you wanted to know more about the big names out there, here we have the list of some top guns from the British world of fashion.

1. Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood is a well-known name in the global fashion industry. She’s been an icon of British style and inspiration all around the world. She has been inspiring with her trendsetting designs for the last five decades and takes pride in being the one who first introduced the punk fashion genre. We all know Vivienne Westwood from the runaways, loved TV shows – such as Sex and the City – and have seen her creations at events like the Golden Globes and the Oscars.She started out in the 70s and was inspired by the rebellion of the time. She took it all in: bikers, S&M, bondage, and began creating what was going to be iconic pieces in the fashion industry. Her pieces mixed diverse objects that reminded of the punk movement such as safety pins, tartan, and chains. She gained fame thanks to the ‘Sex Pistols’ wearing her clothes. In the latter years, the British designer moved to a more feminine style. She was recognized more for her beautiful dresses designed to hug the right curves in a woman’s body.

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2. Stella McCartney

The next star on our famous British designers list is Stella McCartney. Even though her career had somewhat of a shaky start – as she was accused of nepotism due to celebrity models doing her graduate show – she managed to gain the attention and admiration she deserved worldwide. The British style is seen very clearly in the clothes she created after 2001. It was then that she adopted a more grown-up style and tailored aesthetic, helping her get recognized among the celebrities. She is famous for her constant refusal to work with fur or leather, as she is a vegetarian and really takes on these beliefs.

3. Burberry

The Burberry company is one of the oldest brands in the United Kingdom. Burberry was not a fashion brand at first, but was known for a unique type of hard wearing fabric, gabardine. The waterproof fabric was created by the company’s founder, Thomas Burberry, back in 1870. The fabric was used by Army officers for their uniforms. The famous fabric was also worn by Roald Amundsen, known as the first man who ever reached the South Pole. In the 20th century, they gained more popularity to the famous trench coats they designed. The brand had some up and downs then started to gain fame again in 2001, when Christopher Bailey, a designer from Yorkshire, was appointed to run the creative direction. He had a great vision for Burberry: modern and focused on the classic style of Britain. He successfully took the brand forward and transformed it into a hit of the fashion industry.

4. Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen was loved both by celebrities and a large audience for his unique, delicate, yet exquisite approach on fashion. The winner of no less than 4 British Designer of the Year Awards. He had a long career in fashion working for Givenchy and started his own brand, working with famous celebrities like David Bowie. His reputation for wild clothing and shock tactics earned him the nickname of l’enfant terrible’ and the ‘hooligan of English fashion’. Sadly McQueen committed suicide in 2010.

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5. Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane is a Scottish designer who rapidly became famous with his “Spring/Summer 07” collection. He presented dresses that enhanced the beauty of the human body and captured eyes with the use of bold neon shades and a glittering touch. He worked with the hugely successful Versace brand. It was there he designed the much admired Versus line. As one of the top British fashion designers he is known for his innovative and new style selection for his presentations.

6. Mary Quant

Mary Quant is a famous British designer from the 60s who was involved in creating the famous and much-loved mini-skirt that became popular with the young women of the era. She was also the innovator responsible for hot pants. We can say today that this take on fashion was a revolution that continues to influence designers even today. Mary Quant had a fresh approach to fashion.

7. Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson is known to be a specialist in boho chic. He was the one to resurrect a style that was almost forgotten at the beginning of the 21st century: hippie luxe. He used luxurious fabrics, bold jewel tones, and was influenced by the 70s trends and designs, and also by the Far East. Now he goes for a more traditional, feminine look in his collections.

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8. Katharine Hamnett

Katharine Hamnett became famous in the 80s for her bold approach towards fashion. She was among the first few people in this industry to use fashion as an ethical-political tool. She presented slogan T-shirts with bold messages. She continued on the same line and even accused some designers participating at the “London Fashion Week” of racism because they did not include more black models in their presentations.

9. Jonathan Saunders

Jonathan Saunders is an upcoming, fresh face in the British fashion clothing and he is already famous for his collections since his debut in 2003. Famous for using prints and silk screen printing techniques his designs have been worn by notable celebrities; Madonna, Michele Obama, Kylie Minogue and Sienna Miller. He now is know for his unique and individual pieces and a slightly different vision of fashion as he presents tailoring with a cheery, feminine twist.

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10. Paul Smith

Paul Smith is, perhaps, the most famous tailor in modern times and undoubtedly one of the top British fashion designers. He contributed to the long history of the United Kingdom’s fashion design and he was awarded a “Knighthood”, from Queen Elizabeth II. Paul Smith started in 1970 when he opened his own tailoring shop. He was, however, different from the competition as he chose a more inventive approach to fashion. He has a bright, fresh vision which has helped him to go global and convince a larger audience to wear his beautiful designs. He has proudly introduced 12 different collections that celebrate a mix of quirky and classic.

Have you ever followed any of these famous designers? Or, maybe, bought something from their fashion collections? You should take look at their latest designs if you haven’t done so already!

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